Recently, while traveling, I picked up bed bugs at an Airbnb. It was a stressful trip, so I assumed that I had a rash after the first night. The next night things got worse, but again I was under extraordinary stress, so it didn’t dawn on me that it was bed bugs. I got home exhausted. I normally unpack and wash my clothes right away, but instead I set my suitcase on the edge of my bed. Big mistake.
Very quickly my torso was itching like crazy with more and more outbreaks. I figured it out—bed bugs. I also happened to a doctor visit scheduled and she confirmed that I had bed bug bites. A bed bug invasion can take over quickly, especially with pets carrying the bed bugs from room to room.
I took to the Internet in search of answers—especially ones that I would have at home to get started right away. I found some suggestions to use lavender essential oil and others suggesting isopropyl alcohol—so I mixed the two together and tried that for the night. No dice. New bites by morning. So, I went in search of more traditional methods. I purchased Hot Shot Bedbug and Flea Flogger and set one off in every room. I also put all the bedding through the laundry with hot water. But new bites in the morning proved that this didn’t work either.
Now it was time to get serious. I called a bed bug exterminator who would not tell me how much it costs no matter how many times I asked for an estimate. This was a clue to me that it was very expensive. So, I decided to make one more attack myself before turning to an exterminator. My research showed that they hide during the day and come out at night so my new plan involved getting to all the hiding places.
I pulled up all the couch cushions and sprayed them with Hot Shot Bedbug & Flea Killer. I continued by spraying down the front, back, side, and every nook and cranny with it. I pulled off the mattresses and sprayed all the sides before leaving them standing upright. I pulled up the box frames, sprayed all the sides, removed the black fabric from underneath, and left them standing upright too. I then wiped down every single bed frame and all around the bed. I also treated all of my luggage and the coat I traveled in.
We washed every pillow, every bit of clothes in the main part of the bedroom, every bit of bedding including the blankets in hot water. I added lavender, niaouli, and tea tree essential oils to my laundry detergent.
And then I went way off book from the instructions of the Hot Shot Bedbug and Flea Fogger to bomb each room. Each closet got one fogger. The living room got one fogger. Each bedroom got 3 foggers so that every side and section of the mattresses and box frames could be reached with the fogger. All people and pets stayed away from the house for 6 hours after my extreme bed bug treatment.
For a week after the treatment I sprayed down bedding every single night with a mixture of lavender, niaouli, and tea tree essential oils diluted in 91% isopropyl alcohol in a trigger sprayer. When no more bed bugs bites showed up we declared victory and I stopped spraying the bedding down.
Phew! It wasn’t cheap, but I’ve since heard that an exterminator can costs thousands of dollars and in some cases the mattresses cannot be saved. As gross as the whole ordeal was, I still wanted to share in case anyone finds themselves in the same boat. I think the key was not leaving the bed in the normal position but pulling it up so that the treatment could reach every single area.
What I’ve learned. Always, always, always put your suitcase and dirty clothes directly into the laundry room. Act quickly. Over treating is better than under treating. Had things not worked I would have repeated and then added bed bug coverings onto my mattresses, box springs, and pillow cases. I’ve also ordered bed bug traps now.
I’m so glad you were able to meet the challenge quickly and deal with it. That is the key to dealing with bed bugs – ack quickly so they do not set up a personal hotel on your mattress. My home was infected too! I work at a dry cleaner and I brought the freeloaders home with me. I have also found that stem works wonders and kills them. I was able to use my “H2O” mop to steam my mattress, couch, and carpets along with a spray similar to the brand you use. The steam also helps when doing your baseboards and cracks! Thank you for your article.
Carol Wilson says
Maybe that Airbnb should reimburse your costs? Although, it’s a bummer for them, too, since a customer brought them in.
They denied having a problem. That bothered me the most rather than taking measures to make sure no one else experienced the same thing.
I very much doubt that what you are saying is true. Air bombs and foggers are very dangerous and should never be used. Chemical sprays like Raid and other sprayers bought in hardware stores do not work. Government regulators do not allow chemicals to be applied to clothing, and bedding because they are toxic to us. I really doubt your actions killed all the bed bugs; I simply do not believe it. The most solid solution is a full heat treatment of the entire space. The air space has to be heated to around 120 degrees F or above and it has to be maintained at that temperature for about 4 hours. Fans must be used to ensure circulation of the hot air throughout the space; this means opening all the cupboards, opening all interior doors, etc. Anything less, and you will continue to have bed bugs. Washing bed linen has to be done every 2 days to be effective. People recommend putting your clothes in bags, an insane idea; do you really want to live in a bag like a homeless person. My apartment was sprayed 13 times by a licensed exterminator and “approved” by the housing authority. The exterminator failed to get rid of the bugs every time they came. I even refused entry to the exterminator when they refused to show their license, for coming at inappropriate times, for failing to provide a Notice of Entry, for failing to wear PPE; breathing mask, full body protection, eyeglasses, gloves, etc. a huge quantity of exterminators are outfight incompetent. Heat treatment is the only way to go to get rid of bed bugs. It is very expensive, 1000 $ plus. There is no short cut.
And yet it is a true story. There is no doubt that I had bed bug bites since I did end up going to the doctor and others in my house experienced it. I spoke with an exterminator and he guided me on some steps to try before resorting to having him come in. I did that plus the extra steps I listed in the blog post. Guess I caught it earlier than you did or found the right combination of treatments. Doubt me if you want…that is your right.